Sunday, 4 October 2015

October Frights: Departed Fortune

Welcome to the October Frights Blog Hop!

We go a little bit mystical and magical for today’s ethereal post…

Departed Fortune

“A coin, sir, a small token for your fortune?” The small gypsy woman held out her hand.
The man gaped, bewildered. Garish red, gold, and purple emblazoned their hues on his eyeballs. Vivid chroma assaulted him, from her gilt beaded, violet shawl, to the crimson and mauve tent that fluttered in the wind behind her. He would have sworn it had not been there a moment past.
“Would the gentleman care to have his fortune told?” She wiggled her fingers attached to her still outstretched palm. “Only a penny.”
“I—I would love that.” The man clapped a hand atop his mouth, shocked at his words. He thought fortunetelling mere hokum. Yet, he dug in his pockets for a penny. Oddly, he found none.
“I seem to be without coin. Peculiar. I know I had some when I left this morning.”
The gypsy smiled. “No matter. I accept other forms of payment. Come.” She beckoned and the man followed her into the tent.
The small interior held only a small, round table and two wooden chairs. The gypsy settled into a chair, and pulled a small metal trinket box from her skirts. She plunked the box on the table and waved a hand carelessly at the perch opposite her.
“Have a seat, sir.”
The man sat, and blinked at the woman from across the table.
“I am Esma. Your name, good sir?”
“I am—I am…” The man’s body shook, his mind a jumbled blur. “I don’t seem to recall.”
“Ah. It happens. Do not fret, sir. All will be revealed soon.” Esma smiled, but the man did not feel reassured. He felt afraid.
“If you would let me see you palm, please.” He dutifully held out his hand, face up. “Yes. It is as I feared. Such a sad tragedy. So quick. Your sort often have disarranged memories when it is sudden and unexpected.”
“My sort? What do you mean, my sort?” The man bristled, sensing insult.
“Why, the wandering dead of course. Ghosts, spirits, shades of the former living. Those that haven’t the wisdom or the will to move from this life to the next. Such lost souls.” She shook her head, then smiled. “But such a boon to me. I collect lost souls, you see.”
She lifted the lid of her box.
Inside swirled a tiny vortex, infinitesimal in form and eternal in shadow. It held scream and silence, rage and calm. Voices cried, voices sang, and all called to him. He reached out his hand, dangling his fingers over the timeless eddy in a box.
“That’s right, touch it. Add your essence to the collective. Join all those adrift souls.”
The man lowered his finger, caressing the edge of the box’s heart. It felt cold, and then—
Smiling at the now empty chair, the gypsy closed the lid of the box.

© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved

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Saturday, 3 October 2015

October Frights: Homecoming

Welcome to the October Frights Blog Hop!

For today’s post—Sometimes your loved ones refuse to stay dead…


Strange worlds whisper in the silence of the night.
Listen and you will hear. Listen in the fragile hours when breath and consciousness still and drift, when the wind snakes along moonbeams and the shadows spew their secrets upon the cold earth. When the unseen becomes visible, no longer lurking beyond your senses.
When things abandoned and forgotten return home.

I’m coming home.

Decaying roses petals cover the garden path, a desiccating pink and white carpet of broken life. He planted new bushes. I suppose he needed a plausible reason to dig my grave. He chose my favourite roses. A nice macabre touch.
It’s odd standing three feet away from where your murdered body is buried. Even odder staring through the garden window at your husband, your killer.
He’s sitting at his desk, in that pretentious antique chair he loves, working at his computer. Or maybe emailing his girlfriend.
He thought I didn’t know. But I did. He thought he could get rid of me. That murder was quicker than divorce. He was so wrong. He’ll never be rid of me now.
I slide through wall of the house as if it didn’t exist and float in front of him. His skin turns as white—well, as white as a ghost.
“Hi, honey.” Blood drips on to the floor. For some reason that happens when I speak. Maybe because I choked on my own blood after he shot me in the chest. “I’m home. Did you miss me?”
He screams.

© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved

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Friday, 2 October 2015

October Frights Blog Hop: Ghosts Beneath the Sea

Welcome to the October Frights Blog Hop!

For today’s post on October Frights, we embark on a deadly sea voyage…

Ghosts Beneath the Sea

“Have you ever seen the phenomenon called fairy lights? I’ve heard tell it’s a luminescence glow floating just below the waves.” The pale, frail-looking woman smiled at the grizzled sailor, and waited patiently for an answer.
“No, miss, though I’ve heard stories. That’s what I expect they are, just stories.”
“Yes. I’ve heard them as well. Water sprites, mermaids, sea monsters, and the like. I’ve heard the scientific explanations, too. Phosphorus seaweed, bio-luminescent crustaceans, fish waste.” She shook her head. “It’s all quite erroneous.”
She looked at the sailor, staring with such an intensity that he shivered.
“Would you like to know what they truly are, sir?
“So you know, do you?” He smiled, all unease gone in a wave of condescension. “A little thing like you knows the secret to some mysterious sea phenomenon?”
“I know many secrets, sir. But this one most of all.”
She laughed, a cackle born deep in her belly spilling out across deck, and raising to the height of the ship. The old sailor trembled, this time the shiver travelled far into his bones and froze his very marrow. He took a step back from the woman, fright sketched over his salted washed face.
The woman tilted her head, seemingly amused by the man’s discomfort.  “It’s ghosts, you see. Poor men gone down in shipwrecks. Lost souls forever taken by the sea.”
The sailor made the sign of the cross. “You shouldn’t talk like that, miss. ‘Tis bad luck. You’ll curse this ship with talk like that.”
She smiled. “Oh, you poor dear. This ship was cursed the moment I stepped on board.”
She opened her mouth, but it was not a laugh that issued forth, but a roar. A elemental challenge that shook the ship from bow to stern.
The sailor answered it with a cry of his own, a scream born of primal terror.
For no demure, delicate lady faced him now. Her face no longer reflected anything human. Hollow eyes burned black and sunken, peering from ridged sockets, and her flesh dissolved into a death mask of bone and scales. Her torso grew and bulged, while limbs stretched and transformed into scaly, grasping tentacles.
The sailor shouted, “Kraken!” before a tentacle swept forward to knock the old man overboard. Another scream followed him into the sea.
“Rise my children! Rise and greet your new brothers!”
From the waves ascended light, a thousand pinpricks of radiance that swirled and danced, and surrounded the ship. They hovered, waiting to bear witness. They did not wait long. Inhuman tentacles wrapped themselves around the ship’s mast, around its rudder, snaking past its shrieking crew. The Kraken pulled, heaving against wood as it cracked and fractured. She shredded the ship with ease, and tore it all apart.
As the poor ship died, the lights keened—their sound pure and mournful. As the ship sank, as men submerged beneath the waves, the lights enveloped them. Slowly, one by one, they sucked the dying souls from their drowning bodies, and welcomed all the doomed crew into their undead ranks.
Her  task finished, the Kraken descended into the sea, taking her children—new and old—with her. Above her, and her brood, floated the flotsam of another tragic shipwreck.

© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved

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Thursday, 1 October 2015

October Frights Blog Hop: Welcome To The Terror!

Welcome to the October Frights Blog Hop!

Hosted by Clarissa Johal

It's ten days of of chills and thrills, scares and hauntings!

Come revel in terrifying tales and drabbles of dread!

To kick off October, Are You Afraid of the Dark? will be playing on the dark side with a fantastic bevy of other paranormal and horror writers as part of the October Frights Blog Hop (running from Oct. 1st to 10th). It promises to be lots of scary fun and and there will be tons of prizes (and you won't even have to sell your soul to enter the giveaways).

As my part in this whole ten day terror fest, I'll be doing a ghostly theme.

Yes, that's right I'll be posting ghost stories. I have some short tales, some drabbles, and some haunting poetry for you, all about those phantoms that linger after death. Plus, I have a look at the new Xchyler Publishing paranormal anthology, Beyond the Wail, that includes my ghost story, The Weeping Lady.  

Now a bit about my contest. I have a ten day long Rafflecopter giveaway for a prize pack of four of my Smashwords ebooks. These are my books up for grabs:

My Giveaway

And to end out today's welcome, I have our feature story...

Midnight in the Graveyard

Every night I walk through the graveyard.
That may seem strange to some. Some may say there are better places and a better time to wander. Such people may be right, but my nightly strolls have never seemed strange to me.
I’ve always found cemeteries to be peaceful places. No one around to make chit chat or bother you with small talk. Even in the daylight hours. Everyone cocooned in his or her own private world of grief and remembrance.
Of course, at night, a graveyard is quite different. Very atmospheric. That’s why I love to walk there, especially under the moonlight. It has such quiet beauty, a serenity. Yet, there’s an untamed edge, almost mystical. Or so it seems to me.
Yet, the ambience is not my only motivation. There is the gravestone.
It sits on a small rise well in the rear of the cemetery. Every night I walk there, and pause beneath an oak tree. I stare at it, afraid to go closer. I have cause to be afraid. The person interred beneath that soil is why I haunt the graveyard at night. The stone is the reason I cannot leave this place in peace.
The grave is an old one, some say the oldest one here. Some even say the body buried there was cursed, bound to the earth and the stone that marked her grave.
Those people would be correct.
I am a coward. I fear to read my own name etched into that grave marker. It’s a hard thing for me to admit I’m dead. That I’ve been dead for centuries. That the only peace I’ll ever know is in the beauty of a graveyard on a moonlit night.

© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved 

That concludes my first offering for October Frights.

Please, come back tomorrow for more tales of the dead...

For More October Frights Fun Check Out The Bloggers List:

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Drabble Wednesday Meets October Frights

Okay, you ghouls and monsters, tomorrow kicks off a ten day extravaganza of creepy delights for the wonderfully wicked October Frights Blog Hop! We have nearly 50 authors taking a terrifying trek through terror. You'll find Free Reads, Prizes & Giveaways, and more! And it all happens October 1st-10th!

For my part, I’m serving up a look at the upcoming paranormal anthology, Beyond the Wail, giving you stories galore, my regular Drabble Wednesday feature and a great giveaway. All under the theme of ghosts.

That’s right, for ten days my blog will be haunted!

So be sure to come back tomorrow when it all kicks off!

And now on to our Drabble Wednesday Feature Presentation:

Today I’ve dipped into the vaults for a story, but there is a deathly duo of new drabbles as well.


Whispers quiver along unseen particles between worlds, caught against the ragged edges of darkness and light. They race the electric and sing the shadows, they weave among the thunder and warp past the starlight.
They are the lost.
They are the forsaken.
They are the mourning echoes down the eons, the ache in the hearts of the lonely. They breathe the dust on worlds long dead, and remember some that never began. Their voices speak to drops of dusk tumbling from sunsets, their wails resound from the church bells to the moonbeams.
They are the lost.
They are the forsaken.



“Can you see him?”
The old man’s voice murmured, a weak rasp barely heard above the medical machinery. He waved his hand in a feeble gesture; the sunlight from the hospital window illuminated his skin’s wrinkles and liver spots.
“See who, Grandpa?”
The man standing beside his grandfather’s bed shivered, but didn’t quite understand why. So he smiled, and said, “It’s just the medication, Grandpa. There’s no one there.”
The old man closed his eyes. He knew better. The black shadowed figure stood by his bed, a cold hand placed on his shoulder.
Death had come for him.


Wail of the Plaid Spirit

Beware the Plaid Spirit
That’s what my Granny Fiona always said.
I thought she was bonkers until I spent one summer at our ancestral castle in the Hebrides. When I came face to face with our family ghost.
On that third moonlit night, a ghastly yowl echoed throughout the castle. I jumped from my bed, flung open the bedroom door and stared into the black eyes of the Plaid Spirit.
I gasped.
For there, a gargantuan presence in the darkened hallway, hovered the ghost of my great-great uncle Angus. At the first wail of his bagpipes, I turned and fled.

© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved

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